A subject you don’t hear a lot about is the appearance of stretch marks on the shoulders. In most cases, articles focus on stretch marks on areas such as the buttocks, the tummy or the breasts, as these are more common areas where one expects stretch marks to appear. The same is true for the creams that treat stretch marks.
And yet, it’s perfectly normal to get stretch marks in less than expected areas, such as the knees or the shoulders. In this article, we’ll look at why you might see stretch marks on the top of your shoulders or anywhere around that area.
What’s Going On? Why Do I Have Red Stretch Marks On My Shoulders?
If you thought that getting stretch marks is something that only happens to pregnant women, you’re not alone. You were, however, mistaken. The truth is that stretch marks can appear from various causes, most of which involve rapid weight gain or loss.
In the case of stretch marks on the shoulders, they usually appear due to sudden growth spurts in your teenage years, leading to a very fast expansion in the chest and shoulder area. So if you are in that period of your life and have noticed some fresh red scars on your shoulders, then growth is most probably the culprit.
However, a much more popular reason for stretch marks on shoulders is an improper workout and bodybuilding routine. In the attempt to gain a lot of muscle in the chest and arms area fast, many work themselves to exhaustion. The excessive amount of exercises and weight lifting done will lead to microscopic tears both in the muscles themselves, as well as the shoulder skin, which will then result in stretch marks.
Stretch marks due to bodybuilding are particularly common in young men with an abundance of testosterone, which allows stretch marks to grow so fast. (too fast, in this case)
But Wait, I Thought Bodybuilding Was Supposed to Help With Stretch Marks!
This is quite a common claim, and you are likely to see it on a bunch of weightlifting and bodybuilding websites. This is not technically true. You see, stretch marks fade with time as your skin naturally regenerates. Exercise (particularly weightlifting) can boost the blood flow in the shoulder area, which stimulates faster cell turnover. But no, bodybuilding does not make stretch marks go away. However, you can get stretch marks from bodybuilding.
Who Gets Stretch Marks On The Shoulders? How Common Are They?
Both men and women can get stretch marks around the shoulder area, thanks to the above causes. Stretch marks on the shoulders are perfectly normal. They are just a sign of rapid growth. It’s your skin being stretched more than it can handle and crying out in protest, and while they may be unsightly at first, stretch marks are both common and completely harmless.
… But My Stretch Marks Aren’t on Top Of The Shoulders!
It’s perfectly okay to get stretch marks on other sides of the shoulder area as well. Scarring on the shoulder blades, down your back, are quite common in cases of extreme weightlifting. Likewise, suppose your workout routine involves a lot of arm stretches and exercises. In that case, it’s quite common to get stretch marks on the underarms and armpits, directly opposite the shoulder’s bony protrusion.
How Do I Get Rid of Stretch Marks on The Shoulders?
That’s an excellent question! Even though most stretch marks are not particularly painful, people want to get rid of them as soon as possible. For many, stretch marks (especially when they’re bright and angry) can severely blow their self-esteem and make them feel bad.
They don’t, and while I think you should love yourself as you are, I’d say it’s reasonable to look for alternatives.
It’s important to note that you probably can’t get rid of stretch marks. Unfortunately, there is no miracle overnight cure that will rid you of the marks. See, stretch marks are tiny lesions formed on the middle layer of the skin (the dermis) due to rapid weight change. Unlike other skin-deep cuts (formed usually on the top-most layer, also known as the epidermis), stretch marks can’t be made to go away with some topical cream.
Indeed, your best bet here is to give it time and encourage the skin to regenerate, forming new healthy layers of skin to conceal the damaged one. This is how, in time, stretch marks fade in severity and color, until they are barely visible. That’s good news. The bad news is this process takes years.
Stretch Mark Creams
Some of the most successful ones, such as the cream TriLastin, work to boost collagen production and elastin inside your skin. These are two vital ingredients in the regeneration of new cells. They are what makes skin bouncy and elastic in the first place. This works both as a prevention method (the more elastic, the more your skin can stretch) and as a curative measure because it replaces the damaged skin with a healthy one.
Microdermabrasion is an easy cosmetic procedure in which a concentrated spray of crystals is rubbed against the skin to resurface new, healthy skin layers. This, of course, helps conceal the damaged layers.
Another excellent exfoliating solution that brings forth new layers on the skin, a chemical peel involved an acidic solution placed on the skin, and burning through the layers of dead, dull skin that make your skin appear older and your stretch marks appear…well, worse!
Prevention Is Better Than Treating Them
While this won’t do much good if you already have them, you can still ensure that new ones don’t crop up. If you got stretch marks after a heavy workout routine, consider toning down the rhythm slightly and maybe leaving a larger gap in-between sessions.
Also, make sure you use a good moisturizer on the area you’re working on. Proper moisturizers, such as cocoa or shea butter, make your skin more elastic, and thus more capable of stretching during the workouts.
Can I Hide the Stretch Marks on My Shoulders?
As we just saw, getting rid of stretch marks is a long and challenging process. And while you can get great results with patience and time, they won’t do you much good now. Fortunately, there are a couple of options if your fresh new stretch marks have got you embarrassed to go out (you shouldn’t be!).
Tattooing Over Your Stretch Marks – What You Need to Know
As with any scar, tattoos can be a great and gorgeous method of covering up stretch marks. Provided that you choose a reliable artist and work with them, tattooing can efficiently mask your stretch marks. However, this isn’t a solution for bright new stretch marks, as tattooing over those is generally not indicated (as it’s way more painful).
Does Tanning Over Stretch Marks Hide Them?
Although this is a widespread belief, it’s sadly not the case. As your skin tans (either in the sun or with the aid of a tanning bed), it progressively darkens on the top-most layer, the epidermis. But since your stretch marks are below that, they are not affected, and so the white (or colored) stretch marks will stand out even more against your tanned skin.
What About Covering Stretch Marks with Makeup?
Lastly, a good method to temporarily mask those pesky tiger stripes is to use body makeup. This heavy-duty makeup will efficiently conceal your marks and give the area a more even, natural look. Body makeup is by far the easiest and most efficient method for hiding stretch marks, even fresh, red ones.
Stretch marks are not a monstrous thing. It’s perfectly fine to leave them as they are or hide them as best as you can. Whatever your choice, I hope this article has helped give you a good idea of why you got the stretch marks in the first place and what you can do about them!